Raonic’s US Open task made easier by Donaldson injury

Milos Raonic US Open 2018

ROGER Federer will have to overcome a tricky draw if he is to win his sixth US Open title and his first since 2008 at the tournament beginning on Monday.

The Swiss champion has drifted slightly in the betting after Thursday’s draw, which revealed he would face Japan qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round, before things get much trickier, with a clash against Benoit Paire in the second round.

But potentially the hardest match for Federer will be his third-round clash against unpredictable Aussie Nick Kyrgios who he has defeated in all but one of their three encounters, the latest being in Germany on grass earlier this year.

“I’d rather not play five-set matches against Nick because they would last too long and we would probably both grow beards before the end,” Federer told media, after being asked about a potential Kyrgios clash.

“I’m a fan, he plays very relaxedly, just like me when I was young.”

To top Federer’s nightmare draw off, if he can navigate the opening rounds, he will face arch rival and no.1 seed Novak Djokovic in a quarter-final.

If the dream match-up between Federer and Djokovic eventuates it will be the 47th time the two champions have met with the Serbian holding a 24-22 lead, which extended when he won the Cincinnati Open recently.

Canadian hopes draw favourably


Big-serving Milos Raonic heads the Canadian chances at the US Open, with the 25th seed due to open his account against Argentinian veteran Carlos Berlocq on Tuesday.

Berlocq received a late entry into the tournament when American Jared Donaldson, who was originally due to play Raonic, withdrew from the tournament because of a knee injury.

Raonic will be joined in the top half of the draw by Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil as the trio attempt to win a first grand slam for Canada, in the men’s singles.

Raonic, who missed last year’s US Open because of an injured wrist, was expected to defeat Donaldson with a limited amount of fuss, although the 21-year-old is one of the USA’s most talented prospects.

If Raonic can win first-up he will then clash with the winner of eighth seed Grigor Dimitrov ($2.32) and former US Open champion Stan Wawrinka ($1.68), who will enter the tournament unseeded after injury and form problems. He then faces a likely fourth-round match-up against fellow big-server and American John Isner.

Shapovalov, the no. 28 seed, has a much easier draw to navigate with his first-round opponent, who was decided at the weekend, being young countryman Felix Auger-Aliassime, who won three matches at US Open qualifications, his best being over Gerald Melzer on Friday.

Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov will be very familiar with each other’s games having won the US Open Junior Doubles championship together, while they have also faced each other in a Challenger tournament, with the latter coming out a straight sets winner on his way to winning the tournament.

Pospisil ($1.75) will play Slovak world no.77 Lukas Lacko ($2.05) in his opening-round match.

Outright US Open winner – Men’s

  • N. Djokovic – $3.50
  • R. Nadal – $3.75
  • R. Federer – $6.50
  • A Zverev – $12
  • JM Del Potro –
  • M. Cilic – $21
  • K. Anderson – $34
  • N. Kyrgios – $34
  • A. Murray – $41
  • S. Wawrinka – $41

Outright US Open winner – Women’s

  • S. Williams – $7
  • S. Halep – $7.50
  • A. Kerber – $8.50
  • S. Stephens – $10
  • P. Kvitova – $15
  • E. Svitolina – $19
  • G. Muguruza – $21
  • K. Bertens – $21
  • M. Keys – $21
  • Ka. Pliskova – $26

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